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FL ICW Trip

Old 02-25-2019, 08:20 AM
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Default FL ICW Trip

Hey, everyone!

My husband and I journey down the ICW every year in our CC. Last year we did Charleston, SC to St. Augustine, FL. This year we will be traveling from St. Augustine, FL to Key West. I have read other threads where people have done this trip and where others simply don't understand the joy in ICW trips. We truly enjoy riding down the ICW and seeing the sights. We have a 26' CC boat and like to travel 4-5 hours a day, dock, and stay overnight at a nearby hotel. I know this trip planning will be more challenging than past trips due to no wake and slow speed zones.

Our proposed plan:
-St. Augustine to Cocoa Village
(thinking about running outside for this stretch. Would we miss many cool towns on the ICW?)
-Cocoa Village to Stuart
-Stuart to Fort Lauderdale
-Fort Lauderdale to Tavernier/Islamorada
-Tavernier/Islamorada to Key West


Questions I have:
-I have the Know Wake and Wake Watch and both seem to show that the majority of the trip are slow or no wake. Is this truly the case? If so, what stretches should be ran outside? We would only want to ride outside if the stretches are mainly private residences. We really enjoy seeing cool towns on the ICW and wouldn't want to miss many.

-Are there other towns we should consider staying at instead? We will have our bikes with us and love to walk/bike around the towns where we dock.

-Any suggestions for accommodations with docking or docking nearby that you have stayed at and loved?

-Any suggestions for restaurants, bars, or marinas between destinations that you really enjoy?

Again, from reading other people's threads, I know a lot of people think this is a crazy idea. Well, we love it so I'm sorry if you don't understand.

If my timing is overly aggressive, please let me know and please give suggestions for better timing. Again, we are fine with running outside during boring home stretches but truly enjoy seeing the sights and cool, little towns.

Thank you all in advance for the recommendations and advice!!
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Old 02-25-2019, 08:24 AM
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Daytona and most of S. Florida are slow speeds. Go outside if possible.
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Old 02-25-2019, 08:54 AM
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I ran down the fla icw last year in june. Lots of areas are slow speed, but that seemed to be defined as 25mph. Not optimal on a fast CC, but not horrible either. We cruised about 21kts, which is the optimal speed for our single diesel. You can cover a good bit of ground at 25mph. Since we don't run faster than that, not sure how much is zoned that way.

There are several long-ish no wake zones in various places in the ICW. From WPB (Lake worth inlet) all the way though Miami is no wake. That one is a long stretch to go that slow. We were offshore on that stretch, so memory of that stretch is several years old, but I remember going slow the whole way.
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JAGSARE1 View Post
Daytona and most of S. Florida are slow speeds. Go outside if possible.
Sorry if this sounds like a stupid questions but how would you define S. FL?
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Corndog38 View Post
I ran down the fla icw last year in june. Lots of areas are slow speed, but that seemed to be defined as 25mph. Not optimal on a fast CC, but not horrible either. We cruised about 21kts, which is the optimal speed for our single diesel. You can cover a good bit of ground at 25mph. Since we don't run faster than that, not sure how much is zoned that way.

There are several long-ish no wake zones in various places in the ICW. From WPB (Lake worth inlet) all the way though Miami is no wake. That one is a long stretch to go that slow. We were offshore on that stretch, so memory of that stretch is several years old, but I remember going slow the whole way.
If slow speed is 25mph, that makes me feel a lot better! We have a Sea Hunt Gamefish with twin 150s. Our optimal fuel mileage is actually at 24mph so that's perfect! We typically go anywhere from 25-35mph on our trips. I'm a little worried about how long it will take once we past WPB but also hate to run outside there because I feel like we could miss out on a lot. Might need to break up that part a little better. Thanks for the advice!!!
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by woolardway View Post
Sorry if this sounds like a stupid questions but how would you define S. FL?
Probably Palm Beach and south..
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:02 AM
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What is return plan? Are you having someone bring truck/trailer to KW, or then staying a night and turning around to do trip in reverse?
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:27 AM
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I did a similar trip. Went out at Boynton, came back in at Haulover. Mostly seawall, idle zones, and huge houses between there. But I made a right turn at Islamorada, went up past the everglades, and back across the lake to Stuart. Jupiter, Boynton, and Boca inlets can be sketchy depending on conditions.

There are sizeable idle zones near Harbor Branch, Hobe Sound, North Palm Beach, and Palm beach.

Each of your days is pretty long distance. There are tons of funky places to stop at for lunch or exploring, maybe give an idea what you are interested in. Parks / natural sites / snorkeling / culture & history / architecture / photography? What time of year?

Pirate's Cove in Stuart/Salerno would be a good overnight destination. Ft Pierce has a revitalized downtown, and a cute beach side area you could bike to. I like to overnight on the hook or a beach near Sebastian then walk from their city dock for breakfast. Capt Hiram's there would be another overnight hotel spot with a dock.

I'd suggest to make it past each of the lighthouses - Jupiter, Hillsboro, Cape Florida. Go by Stiltsville. Stop at Alabama Jack's for lunch. There are literally hundreds of funky places in the keys to pull up to. Snorkel at Pennekamp, Alligator light, what's left of Looe Key.

Is this a one-way trip?
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by empty canibal View Post
What is return plan? Are you having someone bring truck/trailer to KW, or then staying a night and turning around to do trip in reverse?
I was going to ask the same question and would suggest coming up the west coast and going thru Lake O. You'd be able to see a ton more things and avoid that slow stretch between Miami and Lake Worth
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:27 PM
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I love going put put down the ICW at 7 or 8 kts.
- Sight seeing along the way
- Stopping each night at a marina and trying out a new restaurant or cooking on board
- Timing the departure in the AM for bridge openings

Lots of fun :-)
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:51 PM
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The outside run is not what you are looking for, run inside and enjoy the view.
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Old 02-26-2019, 07:00 AM
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St Aug. to New Smyrna is a cool run. You will be in some state parks from St. Aug to Ormond. Then it is bridges, houses, etc. Probably 4-5 hours depending on cruise speed. Worth the run in my opinion. New Smyrna Marina has transient dockage and you can stay at an AirBnB close to marina, or there is a Hampton Inn on Flagler Ave which is the downtown strip, only a mile down the road. The restaurant there, Outriggers, is great for food and drink. Good luck on the trip.

Merk's across the street is great for a locals dive. Flagler Tavern upstairs has a balcony to hang and people watch - awesome craft drinks there upstairs in the "speak easy".

Last edited by RollTideRob; 02-26-2019 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 02-26-2019, 07:38 AM
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-Fort Lauderdale to Tavernier/Islamorada
-Tavernier/Islamorada to Key West


Questions I have:

-Any suggestions for accommodations with docking or docking nearby that you have stayed at and loved?

-Any suggestions for restaurants, bars, or marinas between destinations that you really e[/QUOTE]

Gilbert's Resort in Key Largo

Dunn's Ocean View in Islamorada
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Old 02-26-2019, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by RollTideRob View Post
St Aug. to New Smyrna is a cool run. You will be in some state parks from St. Aug to Ormond. Then it is bridges, houses, etc. Probably 4-5 hours depending on cruise speed. Worth the run in my opinion. New Smyrna Marina has transient dockage and you can stay at an AirBnB close to marina, or there is a Hampton Inn on Flagler Ave which is the downtown strip, only a mile down the road. The restaurant there, Outriggers, is great for food and drink. Good luck on the trip.
Agree on NSB City Marina; try Jason's Corner restaurant just a block away; also Anchor Inn B&B on Washington St., we weathered Hurricane Matthew there.
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